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Software PhD: Community-Based Reviews for Education Software

blendedlearning's picture

In a world of crowdsourcing and community-based expertise, it's easy to access reviews on everything from products, to services, to restaurants. As the Chronicle of Higher Education describes it, potential users looking to evaluate education technology now have a site of their own: Software PhD, a newly-created website designed to allow vendors and educators to share, discuss, and frankly opine about educational technology. For new users looking to find and buy products, Software PhD has a rating section where you can compare both company and product ratings to make better-informed purchasing decisions. The ratings are broken up into a (presumably expanding, given the site's relative youth) system of categories, including Catalog & Curriculum Management, Scheduling, and Retention & Advising, among others. While anyone can browse reviews, it takes a registered account to write reviews and to use the forum section. By requiring registration, creator Mark Baker hoped to inspire some transparency: while users are not required to provide their names, they are required to identify their institutions. As a result, all reviewers are "trusted reviewers" in some way. The site boasts less than 400 active users so far, but as it grows so too will its power to provide a comprehensive buying guide.